InnovateHer works with young people and schools across the UK to promote the study of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects for girls. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool social enterprise InnovateHer is teaming up with global tech giant Sony as part of its mission to encourage girls to consider careers in tech.
InnovateHer works with young people and schools across the UK to promote the study of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects for girls and is now joining forces with Sony Interactive Entertainment’s PlayStation brand to set up a network of Digital Bootcamps.
The eight-week programme aims to give girls aged between 12-16 key tech and interpersonal skills whilst encouraging them to consider STEM subjects and careers in tech. Currently, girls make up only 20% of computer science entries at GCSE, and just 10% at A-level, with nice times more boys than girls gaining an A level in computer science this year.
InnovateHer, whose mission is “to get girls ready for the tech industry, and the industry ready for girls”, has pledged to tackle these figures by committing to work with schools to reach more than 1,000 girls by 2020.
PlayStation previously worked with InnovateHer’s sister brand Liverpool Girl Geeks to deliver a similar educational programme in Liverpool in 2016. The programme saw 20 girls take part in technology themed workshops across six weeks
It included an invitation to PlayStation’s Wavertree offices to meet technical staff and learn more about how games are developed and tested. The Playstation Liverpool team is to relocate to the former Liverpool Echo offices in the city centre.
Now, InnovateHer is working with PlayStation again to develop a scalable eight-week Digital Bootcamp programme in order to reach more girls in new locations across the UK. The after school programme will teach girls technical skills, build confidence, and highlight local opportunities within the tech and digital industries.
Working with PlayStation has allowed InnovateHer to extend the programme further afield, including Guildford and London. Programmes will start in selected schools during January 2020, and graduates of the programme will have a chance to showcase their work at next year’s Develop conference in Brighton.
Chelsea Slater, co-founder of InnovateHer, said: “The issues we see around the gender pay gap and low numbers of women in the tech community are the culmination of the seeds that get sown early in young women’s academic careers.
“Our mission is to get girls ready for the tech industry, and to get the industry ready for girls, and a huge part of this is challenging the misconception that girls ‘can’t do’ STEM subjects such as computer science, equally that the STEM industry doesn’t cater for women.
“That’s why it’s important for us that our programme reaches girls not just locally, but nationally, too, and that it aims to show young women just what opportunities are open to them. Thanks to PlayStation’s support and recognition, we are able to do just that.”